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Ari Shapiro

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Wildlife biologist Greg LeClair has been obsessed with amphibians since he was a kid, when one rainy day, a black and yellow spotted salamander stumbled into his driveway in Maine.

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There are two sides to the Cuban artist Erik Iglesias Rodríguez, who performs as Cimafunk. "Cima" is an homage to the cimarrón, a word that refers to Cubans of African descent who escaped enslavement. And "funk," he says, "because you got all the African roots that came to the United States and transformed gospel [and] the blues to get funk."

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Winter is coming, and for many people, it will be a very cold one because something wild is happening in the energy market. Oil and gas prices in the U.S. are way up. In Europe and Asia, coal and natural gas prices just hit record highs.

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When photographs emerged of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing down migrants at the southern border, President Biden promised accountability.

"I promise you: Those people will pay," he said. "They will be investigated. There will be consequences."

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It has been 30 years since Dan Savage started his column "Savage Love" to answer questions about sex, love and relationships.

He's celebrating the anniversary with a new book, Savage Love from A to Z, an illustrated collection of essays with one for each letter of the alphabet.

Things have changed a lot from when he started writing about sex in The Stranger, Seattle's alternative weekly newspaper, in 1991.

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Politicians and pop stars often come back to the same refrain.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ME AND BOBBY MCGEE")

JANIS JOPLIN: (Singing) Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FREEDOM")

Not long ago, Denver Public Schools nurse Rebecca Sposato was packing up her office at the end of a difficult school year. She remembers looking around at all her cleaning supplies and extra masks and thinking, "What am I going to do with all this stuff?"

It was May, when vaccine appointments were opening up for the majority of adults and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were loosening mask guidance.

"I honestly thought we were trending down in our COVID numbers, trending up in our vaccine numbers," she says. "And I thought the worst was over."

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What do "Un-break My Heart" by Toni Braxton, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith and "I Was Here" by Beyoncé all have in common? The answer is they were all written by one woman — Diane Warren.

Updated August 14, 2021 at 10:58 AM ET

Many people were calling this the "hot vax summer," as growing vaccination numbers against the coronavirus meant a rebound in travel, and early summer CDC guidance said it was safe to return to eating indoors at restaurants and bars.

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When the artist Yolanda Quarterly, now better known as Yola, was just a bump in her mother's belly, she was already bopping to music. Yola's mother was a registered nurse, who used to DJ at a hospital's mental health unit. Disco and soul, sounds Yola would hear before entering the world, would go on to influence her later in life.

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Here's what it sounded like in Minnesota, where Sunisa Lee's family, friends and supporters gathered to watch her compete.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Fourteen points.

(APPLAUSE)

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It's been remarkable to watch singer-songwriter Joy Oladukun's professional success, despite the pandemic: Her music keeps showing up on popular scripted shows like Grey's Anatomy and This Is Us, leading to live performances on late night shows with Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert — all without really leaving her base of Nashville, Tenn.

On the last edition of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, funk legend George Clinton spoke about opera singer and funk keyboardist Constance Hauman. In particular, he praised Hauman's many musical talents, which extend across genres.

More than 100 years ago, a poem by Katharine Lee Bates was put to music by Samuel Ward, and the resulting song has become one of the United States' most recognizable patriotic hymns, "America the Beautiful."

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